Macro Briefing: 3 February 2023

* Pentagon says Chinese spy balloon spotted over Montana
* China business activity expands in January–first rise in five months
* Eurozone economy grows in January for first time since June
* US mortgage rates decline for fourth straight week
* Worker productivity in US increases faster than expected in Q4
* Austerity is the new new thing for the tech industry
* New orders for US-manufactured goods rebound sharply in December
* US jobless claims edge down last week, holding near record low, but…
* Announced job cuts rose above 100,000 in January–highest in over 2 years:

Professor Jeremy Siegel expects stocks will rally 10% to 15% this year. The author of “Stocks For The Long Run” tells CNBC on Thursday: “The Fed finally accepted that the inflation pressure in the US are abating of late while altering the Monetary Policy Statement wording to suggests that it ‘has eased somewhat but remains elevated'”. He adds: “I really think we’re going to have a big, large decrease in rates in the second half of the year because of the weakening economy and because of the dramatic slowing in inflation, and I think that’s what the market is looking forward to.”

Growth takes a hit at three big tech firms — Google, Apple and Amazon — as consumer demand softens. “The war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, economic uncertainty and macroeconomic headwinds kept the consumer sentiment weak in 2022 while smartphone users reduced the frequency of their purchases,” advises Harmeet Singh Walia, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.